A case in point was when back in the 1930’s and 1940’s,
in Alabama (among other Southern states) when poor Black and
White sharecroppers were being organized to fight against
the regional fat cats who held them down, the powers that
be, campaigned on racial themes to divide them against each
other…and it worked.
The astute Southern Planter and racist politicos knew
from experience that if you can convince a poor White
sharecropper or farmer that the same poor Black farmer or
sharecropper is not your friend but your competitor, race
wins out every time.
Sow the seeds of disharmony based upon skin color and
the poor White bolts for the door and the safety of the lie
that his equally poor Black farmer is not his friend.
Appeals to race as opposed to one’s better economic
interests (in spite of race) was tragically lost upon the
poor White farmer or sharecropper.
The race baiters whispered to the poor White farmer
that his best bet was to align his hopes and upward mobility
with White folks and to leave those Black folks alone
because they were troublemakers or at worse, socialists or
Although the rich land barons were not making life
easier for the poor White farmer or White sharecropper, that
person was pummeled with messages that said if you race
mingle or throw your lot into the mix with poor Black folks,
you will be marginalized and will sink to their depths.
It worked and any budding Black and White farm
alliances were doomed.
Once you sow the animus of race with certain
economically challenged White voters and they are fed a
constant diet that they are not making any upward economic
progress, they will vote their racial self-interests and not
the vote of collective racial upward mobility.
Once you put out a message of grievance that the
“American Pie” is shrinking and there is not enough to go
around for all, the tricked poor or middle-class White voter
will get edgy if he or she believes that they are being left
behind; and all the economic goodies and perks are being
shoveled into wheelbarrows and are delivered to those
The same can be said of the economic background of many
of the Capitol Hill rioters who came to upend a duly
constituted election based on the outrageous lie by Donald
Trump that the election was stolen from him and in turn,
stolen from his base of support.
Donald Trump was notorious and crass in his spouting of
racial dog whistles to his base and the loudest whistle was
when Herr Trump tried to convince certain key states with
critical minority voting concentrations that “those” people
were the cause of they being cheated out of he being
So, what does a race monger do? Simple. You call for
your mis-treated base to act and march on the Capitol and
stop the farce of an election that you claim was stolen.
Of course, there was no credible evidence of any such
theft, but why would anyone let facts interfere with a noble
When those insurrectionists stormed the gates of
democracy, they were both Trump supporters and a wide
variety of right wing supremacist’s groups, hell-bent on
Making America Great Again.
Like the poor White farmer who is repeatedly told that
his lot in life is being diminished by Black and Brown
people, the rioters were told by right wing media that
“others” were engaged in chicanery that resulted in their
loss of status in life.
Remember, Black Capitol policemen somberly retold
stories of being called the “N” word by these White
terrorists. These rioters took out their racial vitriol and
fears on Black law enforcement officers.
These Black police officers were a convenient and close
up reminder that “they” were the chief cause of the rioter’s
complaints and that was the reason they were storming the
Capitol for their dear leader, Herr Trump.
The Capitol Insurrection was fomented by a demagogic
liar who, without conscience, fed his base the slop that
minority people were not their friends, and they should
stick with Herr Trump and his racially divisive messaging.
Yet, and get this, over 72 million Americans wanted four
more years of Herr Trump and his base calling the shots.
Divided by race, again. De ja Vue, all over again.
Contact Lafe Tolliver at firstname.lastname@example.org